Foursquare has redesigned its mobile apps, offering a better user experience and encouraging more interaction among its members.

Over the past few months, the location-based social network has been working to re-build its product from the ground up. It already had the pieces — Explore, Lists, and so on — it just needed to be put together.

The bottom navigation bar now features three tabs instead of five: Friends, Explore, and Me. The check-in tab has been replaced with a check-in button in the top right corner, and will be visible regardless of which tab you’re on.

Friends can now “like” each other’s check-ins as well as mention other friends in a check-in post — similar to Facebook’s tagging feature. Additionally, members can also “heart” or “broken heart” (like or dislike) a venue. Images are also more prominent now, taking on qualities of an Instagram feed rather than a list. This is an appealing quality, especially for restaurants as customers snap and share photos of their plates.

However, the Explore tab received the biggest update. In addition to location and friends’ activities, recommendations now take into account the time of day and weather, providing individuals with much more relevant suggestions.

With its simplified interface and new focus on social interactions, the company hopes to increase its user base. Currently Foursquare has 20 million users, which pales in comparison to Facebook’s 900 million. It’s likely that the more social and personalized experience will increase the activity of Foursquare’s current user base. Additionally, people who have hesitated to join might be willing to jump in and explore.

Only Foursquare’s iOS and Android apps have been updated with the new design. There’s no word on if BlackBerry is next.

[Via: VentureBeat, Image credit: dennis crowley]